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Friday, 06 March 2015

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Cumbrian beaches fail water quality tests

Two Cumbrian beaches have failed to meet minimum water quality standards for the second year running.

Allonby beach photo
Allonby beach

And if Seascale and Allonby beaches don’t clean up their act by next year, they could be forced to put up signs warning people against going into the water.

The results have been published by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) today in its Good Beach Guide which says that a “record number” of beaches has received the top water quality award after the driest summer since 2003.

However, the two west Cumbrian beaches have not hit the mark and are among just 14 beaches failing to meet strict quality standards.

Last year the two popular beaches also failed testing by Defra and the Environment Agency on the standard of bathing water.

Rachel Wyatt, Marine Conservation Society’s coastal pollution officer, said that by the end of next year’s bathing season, all designated waters must meet the new minimum “sufficient” standard due to the revised EU Bathing Water Directive.

But there will be extra pressure on those responsible for the two failing beaches, as the testing will be twice as stringent, meaning more will need to be done to reach the mark.

“Visitors to the Good Beach Guide will now be able to see really up-to-date information,” said Ms Wyatt. “We’ve supported the development of forecast systems that provide information about when water quality is likely to be temporarily poor. But these predictions are no replacement for improvements and so water companies and local authorities must continue to improve sewerage infrastructure and reduce diffuse pollution so that eventually we will only need such warnings during and after exceptionally wet weather.”

The Cumbrian beaches which passed the rigorous test, and are recommended in the guide, are St Bees, Allonby South and Silecroft near Millom.

The MCS is pressing beachgoers to only go bathing in beaches recommended in its guide to “maintain pressure on water companies, environmental regulators and local councils to tackle the sources of bathing water pollution”.

Beaches which don’t meet the ‘sufficient’ standard at the end of 2015 will have to display signs warning against bathing in the sea from the start of the bathing season in 2016.

More than 160 beaches in England and Wales featured in the guide, which will be linked to the Environment Agency’s daily pollution forecast which will indicate when there may be an increased risk of pollution due to heavy rainfall.

Have your say

Humans cause more pollution than dogs or seagulls!
What isn't amusing is the fact that if anything has been done since the first finding, it hasn't been effective.

Posted by Paul on 25 April 2014 at 11:32

the main reason why the beaches fail is the amount of rain that falls before the test is done and if there is a river or stream running onto or near the beach

Posted by albert on 24 April 2014 at 11:39

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